The Comparison of Online Social Networks in Terms of Structure and Evolution
Thursday, May 1, 2008, 11:15am
Social network systems on the Internet, such MySpace and LinkedIn, are growing in popularity around the world. The level of such activity is now comparable to that associated with email and blogs. Our research addresses the question of whether people in different demographic groups use these systems in the same way. We also examined the relationship between membership in on-line social networks and face-to-face networks, especially with respect to different age cohorts. Older Americans tend to use email the same way as Americans in general. The usage of blogs, however, is different, with significant differences in the temporal and structural patterns of post and response in blogs being evident in different demographics. Our research has implications for the design of social network software for older Americans, as well as the algorithms used in search engines for such systems.